2018 NHL Playoff Odds: Next Chapter in Golden Knights Dream Season
The house always wins in Vegas. It also seems to be true with the hockey club as well.
The Golden Knights won the lottery in their inaugural season in the NHL. They captured the Pacific Division title and finished third overall in the Western Conference.
The team, which plays its home games on the Las Vegas Strip at T-Mobile Arena, now faces the higher seed of the two wild card teams in the Los Angeles Kings as the opening round of the playoffs gets underway on Wednesday.
Vegas, which was 200-1 and the longest shot on the board before the regular season began to win the Stanley Cup, is now among the favorites at 7-1 (odds provided by Bovada). They are currently +375 to win the Western Conference.
The Golden Knights and Kings split their four-game season series with Vegas winning the first two in November and December and L.A. taking the last two in late February.
The Kings held the series edge in goals scored 11-10. The under total went 3-0-1 in the four games.
VGB’s pick — Vegas (+375)
Vegas Shoots … And Scores
Even if these two teams weren’t playing each other, it’s just as common to see California license plates on the Strip as it is to spot ones from Nevada.
The Golden Knights finished the regular season at 51-24-7 for 109 points and a +44 goal differential. They were 29-10-2 at home and 22-14-5 on the road. The Kings, who finished fourth in the Pacific Division, were 45-29-8 for 98 points and a +36 goal differential. They were 23-15-3 at the Staples Center and 22-14-5 on the road.
Vegas had four players finish with 60 points or more. Leading goal scorer William Karlsson ended the season with 43 goals and 35 assists for 78 points. Jonathan Marchessault (27-48-75), David Perron (16-50-66) and Reilly Smith (22-38-60) round out the top four.
The Golden Knights must keep Anze Kopitar in check to win this series. The Kings’ leading scorer finished seventh overall in the NHL, with 35 goals and 57 assists for 92 points. Dustin Brown (28-33-61) and Drew Doughty (10-50-60) were the only other players with more than 47 points for the Kings, who led the league with fewest goals allowed this season.
NHL Expansion Team Records
Las Vegas sports books will likely take more action on the NHL playoffs than ever before as the home team makes its run for the Stanley Cup. Venues like Planet Hollywood, the Paris and the Bellagio are just a short tram ride from the arena.
This has been a banner year for the expansion team. No one predicted this. Along the way in the 82-game season, the Golden Knights set numerous league records in their inaugural season.
- Most wins: The Golden Knights earned their 34th victory of the season on Feb. 1 when they beat the Jets in Winnipeg to break the record for most wins.
- Most points: A victory at home on Feb. 21 gave the Golden Knights 84 points in the standings and a new mark for most points.
- First playoffs: The Golden Knights beat the Colorado Avalanche at home on March 26 to become the first new team to make the playoffs since the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers in the 1979-80 season.
- Division title: A few days later on March 31, the Golden Knights edged the San Jose Sharks to become the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four major sports and the first NHL team since the 1926-27 New York Rangers to win their division in their inaugural season.
The lesson learned this season? Don’t underestimate the Golden Knights.